The tarot is mysterious and oft misunderstood. The most common mistake that people make when thinking of the tarot is that it is a divination tool that only works in the hands of a psychic. This is absolutely not the case. I myself am not psychic and have never claimed to be, but I have worked with and used the tarot for over twenty years. In the hands of someone with psychic ability the tarot is a tool that can be used to understand the past and shape the future in the same way as a paintbrush in the hands of an artist can create a picture. But anyone can pick up a brush and paint a picture in the same way as anyone can pick up the tarot and answer a question that they have. And in the same way as anyone can be taught how to paint, anyone can be taught to read the tarot, and the more they practice, the better they will become. The tarot will not tell you what to do, and nor should it, because life is for living not for following. But it will help you tap in to your intuition and guide you to what you should do.
I have taught the tarot for many years and there are a few mistakes that I see when people pick up a tarot deck that will prevent them from understanding the message that the tarot is trying to give. Although the primary mistake is feeling that the tarot will not talk to you unless you are psychic below are some of the other mistakes are made, with information how to overcome them. And overcome them you should, because the tarot has so much to offer to those who are prepared to open their minds and accept that they do not have to know how the universe works to live an abundant life.
Looking up the meaning of every tarot card
When we are learning how to read the tarot, we want to get it right. And so, each time we draw a tarot card, after a cursory glance at the picture displayed, we look up in a book what the meaning of that particular tarot card is.
This causes many challenges
The first one is that we are missing out on understanding the tarot card ourselves. Like everything in life, we are much more likely to understand something if we have taken the time to work it out for ourselves rather than look the answer up. We are also much more likely to remember it.
Secondly, books only give you general readings. Even though I try to give more detail in my book, The Secrets of the Tarot, and split the meanings in to love, work and money, they are still only general readings. We have to interpret a tarot card in relation to the question we are asking, the situation that we find ourselves in and any other tarot cards in the spread.
Lastly, tarot cards do not just have one meaning, they have lots of meanings and we may interpret them differently at different times in our lives and as our relationship with the cards develop. One day when we look at the 6 of Cups for example we may be reminded of friendship, at other times it may signify the transition from childhood to adulthood. There could be a warning there, that we should not share all our feelings, that to do so would leave us exposed and vulnerable. Sometimes the cups may have more significance, on other days we may focus our attention on the flowers that signify purity and love. A book can be used once we have interpreted the card ourselves, but should not be used before we have studied the card.
Looking at tarot cards in isolation
If we have drawn a tarot spread the spread tells the story and the tarot cards are each chapter. We have to look at the tarot spread as a whole and find the common thread before we look at the individual cards to see the detail.
Common themes that will help us to read a tarot spread are looking to see how many major arcana cards there are compared to those from the minor arcana, what numbers are represented and how they fall in the spread, how many cards there are from each suit, what suits are more prevalent and which, if any, are missing. A spread with several 5’s for example would suggest change and transition, a spread comprising mainly swords and wands offers the suggestion that we need to make a decision so that we can take action. Once we have identified the theme, or themes, it is then that we can look at each individual card.
Believing that certain cards are good or bad.
I don’t need to be a psychic to know that if I turn over the Tower, or Death, the 5 of Pentacles or the 10 of Swords I am going to receive a gasp of horror and an anguished look. Or if the 10 of Cups, the Empress or the Sun appears the querent will be smiling with pleasure. Some tarot cards have a very bad reputation whilst others can do no wrong.
The reality though is that no tarot card is good or bad, and to believe so damages our relationship with the cards and prevents us from seeing the message that is being offered to us. If we see the Tower as a card that brings the destruction of all that is familiar to us, then we miss out on the potential message that we need to give our life a good shake up to avoid getting in to a rut. Conversely if we always see the message from the Empress as making time to enjoy the finer things in life, we may not see the warning that the tarot holds that we are living beyond our means. Tarot cards are neither good nor bad, they offer guidance to the questions that we are asking and we should always keep an open mind or risk getting the message we want to hear rather than need to hear.
If you would like to learn more about the tarot, and learn how to read the tarot for yourself, I deliver many courses in Jersey in the Channel Islands, and across the UK.
For details of my tarot courses click here
The tarot has been used through the ages as guidance for those who seek meaning to their life, answers to their questions and help with their decisions. The detailed symbolism on each of the 78 tarot cards, provides the querent who can interpret the tarot with advice, support and enlightenment for many of the questions that they face in life. Whilst the tarot cannot predict what will happen, unless in the hands of a psychic who can use the tarot cards as a tool to help them see in to the future, the cards do provide all who ask with an insight in to what is happening at the moment. This allows for greater clarity and a deeper understanding of situations and events so that successful ways forward can be found to many of life’s problems.
Although seen as a powerful fortune telling tool, you do not have to have a sixth sense to use and read the tarot. With help and guidance anyone can read and interpret the tarot cards and benefit from the help and illumination they can give. In my book ‘The Secrets Of The Tarot’, I unlock the mysteries of the 78 cards that make up the tarot deck. Containing simple, and easy to follow meanings for each of the 78 cards, including what each of the cards mean for love, money and work, this book is a must read for anyone who is starting their journey to understand how the tarot can help them in their life